The camera industry has emerged as one of the most technologically-advanced and fast-paced industries, with constant innovation and incremental changes, an inherent part of the strategic goals of camera companies.

One of the most famous companies, Nikon, has been in this market for decades and have produced a wide range of amazing lenses. But which ones are the best?

This article will provide you with a complete roundup of Nikon’s best lenses for every photographer’s different needs. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Nikon Lenses

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm

  • Equipped with an aperture range of f/1.8 to 22
  • F-Mount Lens with a DX-Format, making it the best overall
  • Has a silent wave motor system feature for noiseless shutter
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Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 50mm F/1.4D

  • Works for FX in the DX Crop Mode with 35 mm film
  • Non-zoomable lens with a minimum focal distance of 1.5 ft.
  • Normal lens with high-speed functionality, making it the runner-up
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Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG

  • Minimum focus distance of 33.5 inches
  • Embedded with 2 SLD glass elements and 1 Aspherical element
  • Equipped with Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM), making it the best for the money
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Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm

  • Minimum aperture of 32 and a maximum aperture of 2.8
  • Equipped with Internal Focus for a speedy yet quiet autofocus
  • Ideal for any photographic environment, making it the best macro lens for Nikon
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Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5

  • Filter size of this lens is 82 mm
  • Two ELD elements equipped, as well as one SLD element
  • 10-20 wide aperture of F3.5, making it the best wide-angle lens for Nikon
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Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G

  • Longest focus distance is 1.48 feet
  • Equipped with M/A focus mode switch
  • Best Nikon portrait lens and best Nikon 50mm lens
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Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm

  • Rugged construction, making it weather-resistant
  • 14-24mm focal length which delivers superb performance
  • 2x ultra-wide zoom ratio, making it the best Nikon lens for landscape
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Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm

  • Equipped with 4 stop Vibration Reduction for image stabilization
  • Has a range of zoom options to cover wide-angle and portrait views
  • Labeled as the world’s lightest zoom lens with an f/2.8-4 aperture, making it the best Nikon zoom lens
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Sigma 150-600mm

  • Has a water and oil repellent feature as a coating to protect it
  • Optical Stabilizer (OS) feature to take pictures of moving objects
  • Equipped with Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) for quieter performance, making it the best telephoto lens for Nikon
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What Do The Numbers on a Lens Mean?

The first range of numbers indicates how many focal lengths are available in millimeters. With the focal length range, you can determine which view angles your camera lens can bear. Lower or lesser numbers indicate whether your lens is a wide-angle lens or not. However, the angle of view does not only depend on the focal length but rather the sensor’s size, as well. For this purpose, you must know the crop factor of your lens. 

The second range of numbers gives you an idea about the speed of your lens. This can be located as the numbers after the ‘f/.’ These numbers display how much light the lens allows inside. If the numbers are small, it means that more light can pass through and richer images can be captured. If the numbers are higher, then it is vice versa. 

What Size of Lens Do I Need?

If you are a professional photographer who requires crystal-clear images and a flawless lens that has image stabilization and less chromatic aberration or barrel distortion, then you need lenses that have extreme focal lengths as well as higher apertures. Since professional lenses require more technological advancements, they are built with better materials and are heavier than standard lenses. The larger and heavier the lens, the bigger the price tag.

If you’re a novice and have just embarked upon your new photography journey, then a huge lens will just be a puzzle to you. You need a smaller lens with lesser specifications so you can get familiar with the basics. 

What Makes a Great Nikon Lens?

The greatness of a lens is only truly shown when it’s used within its boundaries and is paired with the perfect camera, as well as with the right photography techniques. However, to get more depth of quality and clarity from your images, you need a good lens, as well. Here are some characteristics of a great Nikon lens:

Distortion

All lenses have some distortion and it takes a really good lens to eliminate most of it, especially in wide-angle lenses. The more expensive and higher quality lenses produced by Nikon reduce distortion by adding more lens elements to refine the image quality. 

Speed

The basic task of a lens is to take in the light and pass it on to the camera sensor. As mentioned before, higher-quality lenses have greater apertures, which allow them to pass more light to the sensor and create sharper images at a speedy rate. 

Vibration Reduction

This feature allows the image to be stabilized so there is a minimal chance of your image turning out to be blurry. So, if you buy a lens from Nikon, you need to check whether it has this feature or not. 

Quick Take - Best Nikon Lenses

Before we dive into our review, here are the best Nikon lenses:

  1. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm
  2. ​Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 50mm F/1.4D
  3. ​Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG

Review of the Best Nikon Lenses

Understanding how a lens works and what makes it good or bad is a tricky job, considering the jargon and the technical understanding (physics, essentially) involved in it. Now that you have learned the key factors of what makes a good Nikon lens and how to choose one, let’s dive into the review of the best Nikon lenses. 

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Focal length range is quite impressive
  • Captures tack-sharp and crystal-clear images
  • Compact and super-lightweight, which makes it ergonomic
  • Silent motor allows the user to capture photographs quietly
  • Vibrancy and sharpness of the images it captures are unreal

CONS

  • Does not have optical stabilization
  • Prime lens, which means it is not zoomable
  • Barrel distortion can be faced when capturing images

What Recent Buyers Report

This lens aids beginners in exploring their potential in photography. Photographers who have used it find it to be ravishing with great functionality and versatility, as well as unbelievable features and tack-sharp images. It captures what you see in reality, while also making it more beautiful and smoother with silky bokeh.

Why it Stands Out to Us

When used with the right techniques and camera, this lens is a serious contender. It beautifully blurs the background to focus completely on your subject and contrasts colors to make the shot more visually appealing. Moreover, it performs flawlessly in low-light conditions as well and is well-built, which means it can operate in challenging situations, as well.

Who Will Use This Most

This prime lens takes photos in a unique manner, which is better than a zoom lens. It is an all-rounder but is specifically designed for landscape scenes and discreet shooting. This f/1.8 lens is perfect for areas where there is low light, nature portraits, travel, and general photography. Overall, it’s a great all-rounder lens that works super-fast and efficiently.

Bottom Line

If you're looking for the best Nikon lens that gives you value for every penny spent, this is the one for you. It captures rich and sharp images, with quality that can be compared with more professional and higher-end lenses. Overall, it is one of the best lenses you can purchase from Nikon for any compatible camera.

Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Has a recessed front element
  • Creates creamy and silky bokeh
  • Quite lightweight, which makes it easier to handle
  • Supreme clarity and high-quality resolution images
  • Super-fast auto-focus to capture more images in less time

CONS

  • Not compatible with the D3400
  • Does not have a zooming feature
  • Not equipped with vibration reduction feature on the aperture ring

What Recent Buyers Report

This lens is a dream for most novices and can focus on the subject pretty fast. It can make ordinary, normal pictures look super professional by creating soft backgrounds and smoothing out harsh lines. It is an excellent lens for natural light photography and provides blazingly sharp images each time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This lens is lightweight yet durable, making it really travel-friendly as the weather conditions in different areas can be unpredictable. The blazing-fast f/1.8 aperture lets you take rich images that focus on the subject with vibrant colors and soft backgrounds. It also works like a dream in low-light conditions, which makes it a tough competitor in the market.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens is specially designed for travel usage so tourists can feel at ease while carrying a lightweight camera around and also be able to take stunning images. Moreover, this lens is also a great investment for photographers who are interested in capturing full-length portraits.

Bottom Line

If you’re a semi-amateur photographer and are looking for a lens that will deliver excellent quality while also being lightweight, then consider this one. It is one of the sharpest lenses created by Nikon and promises to exceed your expectations by capturing fine, jaw-dropping images each time you press the shutter.

Best for the Money:
 Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Nikon F (321955)

PROS

  • Has a super-bright f/1.4 aperture
  • Eliminates distortion, which is an added bonus
  • Sharpness of the image quality is pretty stellar
  • Image quality is so visually appealing that it’s hard to resist
  • Equipped with a new auto-focus motor, it is a strong contender to rivals

CONS

  • Image stabilization isn’t available
  • Not weather-resistant, which makes it prone to damage
  • Isn’t lightweight, making it really heavy and uncomfortable to hold

What Recent Buyers Report

The wide-open on this lens is incredible. Moreover, the chromatic aberration is invisible when capturing shots. It’s a relatively cheap lens in terms of price but delivers a powerful performance. It has an admirable auto-focus speed and produces sharp photos and silky bokeh. All in all, it’s a serious competitor in terms of the value of money that it provides.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The finesse and finishing of the lens make it look expensive and luxurious. It is carefully and intricately designed for high functionality. The images it produces are tack-sharp because of its super-fast auto-focus. Plus, its performance is really high quality and can make any portrait look professional.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens is specifically manufactured for serious portrait photographers, as it is just one of the best Nikon lenses for this purpose. It performs stunningly for bridal and couple photoshoots, as it tends to blur the background and give a subtle, yet lovely bokeh. It captures images as realistically as possible, especially with regards to skin tones.

Bottom Line

This is a really amazing lens and a contender that can not be ignored, especially for the price. It delivers a bang for the buck and should be considered if you’re looking for a lens that costs less but performs flawlessly and delivers impeccable results.

Best Macro Lens for Nikon:
 Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm

Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens

PROS

  • Wireless Close-Up Speedlight System
  • Non-rotating design that proves to be easy to use and handle
  • Nano Crystal Coat and ED to enhance the quality of the image
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology that takes pictures quietly
  • Vibration-Reduction technology for 4 shutter speed slower shooting

CONS

  • Not zoomable
  • A bit pricier than other models
  • Does not work well for short distance photography

What Recent Buyers Report

Photographers have found this to be a multipurpose lens, and use it for both portrait and macro photography. It delivers a subtle, creamy, and soft bokeh with a smooth finish, making the picture seem silky and gorgeous. There is no image distortion and the shutter speed is blazing fast. The overall performance is insanely amazing. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This camera is super-durable and highly dependable. Moreover, it performs impeccably under every light condition. It is also optically stabilized and creates sharp, quality shots with minimal effort. It is able to take one-to-one photos at great speed and silently, without disrupting the length of the lens.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens was designed for serious photographers who get into the texture and detail of every photograph and want their photos to seem like real-life shots. Photographers who love taking close-up pictures of their subjects will find it to be the best one for their Nikon D750.

Bottom Line

This is one of the greatest macro lenses in the market. It takes real-life images and blurs the background so that the subject is focused, but blends with the bokeh background. The Nano Crystal Coating makes sure that there are fewer flares in the image and reduces chromatic aberrations, creating super-sharp images and stellar clarity. 

Best Wide-Angle Lens for Nikon:
 Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Aspherical Super Wide Angle Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

PROS

  • Has internal optic control
  • Has a fantastic optical quality
  • Has a constant wide f/3.5 aperture
  • Super-lightweight and easy to handle
  • Provides excellent value for the money paid

CONS

  • Does not have image stabilization
  • Only compatible with newer DSLR models
  • Does not come equipped with weather sealing

What Recent Buyers Report

This is one of the most amazing wide-angle lenses you can find in the market for an affordable price. It can work flawlessly at fast shutter speeds and delivers impressive clarity and quality of the image, as well as produces sharp and precise wide-angle shots each time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a wonderful lens that can operate under every lighting condition to produce natural and beautiful shots. It comes with a super multiple-layer coating to eliminate flares and ghost effects, and a fixed super-fast aperture. The four aspherical lenses inside this Sigma lens can also reduce distortion, making it an amazing investment.

Who Will Use This Most

This camera lens is an ideal investment for those photographers who like taking pictures of architecture or landscapes. However, it is also good for interior photography, such as rooms, etc. or for group pictures to make sure everyone easily fits in the frame. Photojournalists can also make use of it.

Bottom Line

All in all, if you’re on the hunt for the perfect lens for wide-angle photography, then this is the one for you. You can take high-quality images at a budget price when you get this Nikon lens as it ensures sharp and precise results each time.

Best Nikon Portrait Lens and Best Nikon 50mm Lens:
 Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Provides excellent value for the money
  • SWM for speedy and silent auto-focus
  • Aspherical lens to eradicate color fringing
  • Natural background blurring for supreme portrait effect
  • Equipped with Super Integrated Coating (SIC) that gives bright colors and eliminates flare

CONS

  • Has a wide-open vignette
  • Visible barrel distortion in this model
  • No vibration-reducing technology on the aperture ring

What Recent Buyers Report

Photographers find that the bokeh rendering is soft and silky and the lens allows beginners to capture beautiful images that boost their confidence and enhance their skills. Images are clear and tack-sharp with lovely contrasts and incredible low-lighting performance. It also functions blazingly fast and delivers vibrant, colorful, and crystal-clear portraits every time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This lens is termed as "Your DSLR’s best friend". It might be small and compact, but it’s nowhere as small in its performance levels. It can produce remarkable photos in almost every light condition. It's also equipped with the best technology, which makes it one of a kind.

Who Will Use This Most

Semi-beginners or amateurs in photography can use this lens because it’s affordable and delivers a bang for the buck. It is also an ideal camera lens for professionals as well, especially for events such as weddings or birthdays, because portrait photography is common there. If you need a 50mm lens or one for great portraits, this is the one for you.

Bottom Line

The design and features of this lens are extraordinary, especially for such a good price. It is also a great investment for young photography enthusiasts. It is lightweight, which makes it portable. Not to mention, it captures brilliant, sharp portrait photos, with a speedy and silent auto-focus.

Best Nikon Lens for Landscape:
 Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

PROS

  • Internal Focus (IF) for speedier, quieter auto-focus
  • Manual/automatic switch to quickly change the auto-focus
  • Nano Crystal Coat for reduced ghost effects and sharp clarity
  • Two ED elements and PGM lens for high contrast and clear images
  • Weather-resistant build to protect the lens from damage, dust, and other external factors

CONS

  • Weight is pretty heavy
  • Observable wide-angle distortion
  • Has a moderate level of lateral chromatic aberration

What Recent Buyers Report

The pictures taken with this lens turned out to be accurate and sharp and the lens was considered as the "gold standard" for wide-angle photography. Photographers have noticed that the picture quality is stellar and there is a good balance between the colors and contrast of the images.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This lens stands to us because it can achieve sharp images, particularly at the corners, which is quite challenging for the majority of camera lenses. It does not create a harsh type of sharpness, rather, the colors are hushed and portrayed in such a way that makes the image look smooth and beautiful.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens is recommended for landscape photographers who are into taking pictures of the night sky or who like capturing nature or architecture, such as tall buildings, etc. It can also be used for special, rare occasions, such as capturing the aurora borealis. It also works flawlessly in low-light conditions, making it a great choice to photograph any time of day.

Bottom Line

If you're a professional photographer or a photography enthusiast who likes capturing pictures of skies or stars, there is no lens that can perform as amazingly as this one. If you can dig into your pocket a little further and afford it, then don’t hesitate to purchase it, as it is a great investment.

Best Nikon Zoom Lens:
 Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Super-versatile and popular zoom range
  • Delivers tack-sharp images with amazing quality
  • Lightweight yet robust, so you can take pictures without straining your hand
  • Vibration reduction feature allows for image stabilization and eliminates blurriness
  • Has a 5x optical zoom, which allows you to take the best photos at the closest distance

CONS

  • Visible distortion in the image quality
  • Incompatible with older versions of DSLRs
  • Produces dim corners at the high apertures

What Recent Buyers Report

This lens performs outstandingly with sharp images and amazing vibration reduction. The contrast of colors in the images is also astonishing, with subjects in clear focus. The bokeh it creates is also smooth and blends well with the background. All in all, the customers were very impressed with this lens.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This camera lens not only provides clear and sharp images but can keep up with the fast shooting speeds because of the electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism, which is embedded in the lens and allows you to take ultra-precise photos while keeping in sync with the shutter speed. It also comes with non-stick glass that makes it easier to wipe off any dust without pressing too much.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a lightweight lens, which makes the camera easy to hold for traveling purposes and renders creamy bokeh, which is good for portrait photography. Moreover, it’s a great lens for daily usage such as blogging and can also shoot HD videos in every lighting condition.

Bottom Line

This is a state-of-the-art lens which is equipped with the latest technological and high-end features that allow you to capture the perfect shot. If you are looking for the best zoom lens from Nikon, then this is the one to go with, as it is ideal for blogging and shooting images for daily life.

Best Telephoto Lens for Nikon:
 Sigma 150-600mm

Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM Lens for Canon

PROS

  • Surprisingly lightweight for the build
  • Superb image quality and sharp finish
  • Comes along with a tripod collar and lens hood
  • Efficient image stabilization to eliminate blurriness
  • The shield (coating) on the lens makes it dust, water, and oil-proof

CONS

  • Has a moderate amount of distortion
  • Some level of visible chromatic aberration
  • Embedded with a narrow aperture compared to other models

What Recent Buyers Report

Users find the optical stabilization feature to be very useful and fast. It is a highly reliable lens for shooting subjects that are far away. Moreover, the image quality of this lens competes with those that are far more expensive than this one. It is also surprisingly lightweight and more compact than other telephoto zoom lens.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This camera has amazing image stabilization, which allows you to take pictures steadily even with a shaky hand if you are holding such a large lens. It is lighter than the previous versions, but the quality is much better and richer than most telephoto lenses and provides accurate and sharp results.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens is ideal for photographers who like taking pictures of the moon. It is also a great lens if you want to take pictures of moving objects, which makes it an excellent investment if you are into wildlife, nature, or sports photography. It is also a good lens for motor photography.

Bottom Line

If you're looking for a new lens to take photos at a steady pace, then consider this telephoto zoom lens from Nikon. It is a remarkable lens that will exceed your expectations with the amount of detail and sharpness it captures in a single shot

What Do I Need To Know Before Buying?

It's essential to consider numerous factors before buying a new Nikon lens for your camera. First, you need to recognize what to expect from it and which kind of photography you want to pursue. Below is a list of some aspects that you should look into before setting your mind on a particular lens model:

Image Stabilization

Most mirrorless cameras tend to have this feature already equipped in them. However, for DSLRs, extra attention is needed, as some models do not have image stabilization, which means you need to consider a lens that is equipped with this feature. If you’re just doing basic photography, then this is not a necessary feature, but it is really important for low-light photography with slow shutter speeds.

Aperture

Aperture is one of those key features that determines the price of the lens. If you have a wide aperture, it helps the lens focus on the subject while keeping the background blurred. On the other hand, a narrow or slow aperture keeps both the background and the forefront in focus. It depends on the kind of photography you’re into that determines which aperture is perfect for you. 

Focal Length

This determines the angle of view of the lens. If you want a wide-angle lens that can capture the entire scene, then you should look for a focal length ranging between 14 and 35mm. However, if you’re looking for a telephoto or super-telephoto zoom lens, then the range should be 100-400mm. 

How to Clean a Nikon Lens

Cleaning a Nikon lens, or any lens for that matter, can be a daunting task if you have no idea about which materials and techniques to use when cleaning the lens and the sensor. But fear not, as this portion is designed to guide you on how to clean a Nikon lens without any hassle. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Find a mini blower from a market or from your home to blow out the surface dirt or muck from the lens. Make sure you don’t touch the lens with your fingers. 

  2. If the blower does not help, then get a microfiber cloth, which will ensure that the dirt is properly cleaned from any corners. 

  3. Use a lens cleaning solution on the cloth to ensure that your lens is completely rid of any dust or stubborn stains. 

  4. The backside of the lens is equally important and is attached to the camera’s mount. To clean that, follow the same steps mentioned previously by using a blower and then resorting to a microfiber cloth to remove excess. 

  5. Now it’s time to clean your sensor. Put your camera on manual cleaning mode, which is located in your camera’s settings. This will flip the mirror and expose the sensor. Next, use the blower to remove the dust. Make sure that you don’t use a brush, lens pen, or microfiber cloth in the sensor as it will damage its elements. If you still find some muck in it, take it to a professional for proper cleaning. 

Conclusion

These were a couple of lenses that will catch your attention and are worth the investment. Hopefully, the guide has aided you in choosing the perfect one for whichever purpose you desire and you can fulfill your passion of photography by purchasing the perfect Nikon lens for your camera. 

People Also Ask

This article was aimed at guiding you to find your desired lens and clear your doubts. However, if there are still some questions that need to be answered, this portion is for you. Below are answers to a few  frequently asked questions: 

What Does VR Mean on Nikon Lens?

VR stands for vibration reduction. It is a technology that was introduced in order to eradicate blurriness in your images caused by your hand shaking. It is also known as image stabilization and is a particularly useful feature, especially in low-light conditions. 

What is a Macro Lens Nikon?

A macro lens is created by Nikon to photograph particularly small subjects like insects, etc. It can capture these subjects at a very close distance. They can take shots with more refined detail and texture than a normal/standard lens. This is because their focus is much clearer and sharper than that of a basic lens. 

What is a Nikon G Lens?

A G-type lens was created by Nikon, and this type of lens does not have an aperture ring equipped in it. They were manufactured for the sole purpose of using it with Nikon DSLRs. The lens aperture is adjusted with the help of the camera’s command dial. 

What is a Prime Lens Nikon?

Prime lenses are preferred over other lenses because they let more light into the camera. They are also smaller and much more lightweight than zoom lenses because they are devoid of the zoom feature. They also have higher and maximum apertures. This is why they are also faster than a zoom lens. 

How to Read a Nikon Lens

Your camera lens’ aperture can be measured with numbers listed after ‘f/.’ This indicates how much light the lens lets in your camera sensor. The lower the number is, the more light can enter, and vice versa. The focal length of your camera lens is measured in millimeters. The smaller the focal length is, the more your lens can capture the subject with finesse. 

What Does ED Mean on Nikon Lens?

ED in Nikon stands for extra-low dispersion and is an optical glass that was manufactured in order to eradicate chromatic aberration. Chromatic aberration is referred to as a drawback of a lens to focus the colors in the image at one point. 

What is A and M on Nikon Lens?

A stands for auto-focus and it is the tendency of your lens to focus on the subject automatically. M stands for manual focus, and is used when the user of the camera focuses on the subject while rotating the dial. The switch is named as M/A or M. In the M/A mode, the camera makes an effort to auto-focus on the subject as long as the camera itself is set to the auto-focus mode. 

Nikon Lens Reviews

Looking for Nikon lenses? To make everything as easy as possible, below are all of our buyer guides. Feel free to browse through a few and check back soon. We'll be updating this page frequently.